[Advaita-l] Question on Mayavada

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Dec 6 23:53:21 CST 2010

On Sun, 21 Nov 2010, Rajaram Venkataramani wrote:

> Thanks for the elaborate responses to my question. It is difficult to
> respond to them individually. The reponsed fall in to three categories:
>   1. The padma purana verses are bogus. I am okay to accept it if  one
>   is able to prove interpolation. I have heard better arguments from outside
>   this forum to support this but none scholarly enough. The strongest one is
>   that there are four recensions of Padma Purana andthe said verses appear
>   only in the Bengali edition. But when I enquired I realized that such a
>   statement was not based on evidence but anti-gaudiya sentiment.

It's also not entirely true.  The Nirnaya Sagara edition of the Padma 
Purana which was published from Mumbai, does include those shlokas. 
However atleast in the copy I have, there is no critical apparatus so

>   None of the
>   members on this forum made that argument but tried to prove intterpolation
>   on two counts. One, the verse shows misunderstanding of advaitam. But that
>   is not the case because the description of total renunciation, jIva brahma
>   aikyam etc. are correct.

Unfortunately, as we have seen in the recent election season here in the 
US, it is possible to selectively quote the truth and twist the meaning. 
One would hope Veda Vyasa held himself up to a higher standard than a 

This is the misunderstanding.  Advaita Vedanta does not teach the 
renunciation of karma for all and sundry (surely you must have seen the 
many posts in this list about karmakanda?)  rather it says karma has an 
effect only for the person who maintains I-consciousness.  As a jnani no 
longer has this, karma is pointless for him but he can still advocate it 
for those who still have ahamkara.  The Buddhists on the other hand simply 
do not believe the shastras have any effect.  Not the same thing at all.

Similiarly, Advaita Vedanta teaches that what is called Jiva and Brahman 
are equivalent.  Buddhism does not admit either exists at all.  Totally 

By the time the Madhvas and Gaudiyas flourished, Buddhism was dead in 
India.  Their only knowledge of it was second-hand and while calling 
Advaita Vedanta pracchanna bauddha might have made sense to them, we who 
are better informed should not make that mistake.

> Sri Jaladhar Vyas mentioned that jnana is not a subtractive process. If it
> is a view supported by what Sankara says, then it is an argument that
> Advaitam is not Mayavada. But the rest of the group seems to believe that
> Brahman is distinct from Ishwara, Jiva and Jagat, which are results of Maya.
> On realizing Brahman, none of these exist.

...in the way they were formerly conceived.  This is the part you are not 
getting.  Jnana is not just a matter of extra knowledge but a fundamental 
shift in perspective.  Many people will, for example, go to the ocean to 
watch the beautiful sunset over the waters.  Now if you learn a little bit 
of astronomy, you know the sun does not actually set; in fact it is the 
earth which is orbitting the sun despite the contradiction of knowledge we 
receive from the senses.  Can the astronomer not enjoy the sunset?  Of 
course he can because the phenomenon remains the same, only the 
perspective of the observer, the interpretation he gives to that 
phenomenon has changed.  This is what jnana is albeit on a grander scale.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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